Brown Introduces Legislation to Combat Threat of Antibiotic-Resistant “Superbugs”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced his legislation to protect Ohioans from deadly “superbugs” by combatting antibiotic resistance. Misuse and overuse of antibiotics to fight disease have led to resistant bacteria and a growing shortage of effective antibiotic drugs. This impacts more than two million Americans each year – with an estimated 23,000 dying as a result – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Brown is reintroducing legislation that would strengthen federal response to antibiotic resistance by increasing data collection and monitoring, prevention and control, and research efforts.

“Antibiotics do a world of good for Ohioans fighting infections and illness, but now antibiotics are becoming less effective, putting people at risk from dangerous infections that can’t be cured,” said Brown. “We should address this growing crisis head on, both to stop the spread of deadly superbugs and to preserve antibiotics as a tool to fight disease.”

“Antibiotic resistance is seriously jeopardizing patient safety, public health and national security,” said Dr. Thomas M. File, who chairs Summa Health’s Infectious Disease Unit in Akron, and serves as Vice President of the Infectious Disease Society of America. “Without safe and effective antibiotics, many of the life-saving medical procedures we have come to rely upon—including cancer chemotherapy, complex surgeries and organ transplants—may become impossible to perform. Senator Brown’s important legislation will strengthen our public health infrastructure for combating antibiotic resistance and help protect us from returning to the pre-antibiotic era, in which common infections could be deadly.”

Drug-resistant infections – like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – are impacting more than just hospitals and are also infecting healthy adults and children. If left unaddressed, antibiotic resistance could result in a generation of antibiotics that are virtually ineffective, seriously jeopardizing patient safety and public health. It is estimated that the total economic cost of antibiotic resistance to the U.S. economy is more than $20 billion a year in excess health care costs, with additional costs to society for lost productivity as high as $35 billion a year.

Brown’s bill, the Strategies to Address Antibiotic Resistance (STAAR) Act, would provide a multi-pronged strategy to help limit the growing impact of antibiotic resistance, positively impacting the nation’s overall health and national security, and lowering the costs associated with antimicrobial-resistance. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Reauthorize the Interagency Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force and codify sections of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB), to promote prevention and track antibiotic use and resistance.
  • Enact key CDC recommendations to place greater emphasis on federal antimicrobial resistance surveillance, prevention and control, and research efforts.
  • Authorize the use of grants to healthcare facilities to study the development and implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs aimed at expanding efforts to encourage appropriate use of antibiotics.
  • Allow the CDC to partner with state health departments to implement prevention collaboratives, and to expand public health partnerships through the CDC’s established Prevention Epi-Centers work.
  • Require annual reports to Congress on implementation.